Weight classes and the practice of weight cutting has been an integral part of the sport of MMA ever since the sport stepped out of the dark ages and started it's journey of being a legitimate sport.
There have always been certain fighters who have been benefited by moving up or down from the weight divisions they started their careers in. They have achieved great laurels and have been hugely successful in weight classes that weren't originally their own.
With UFC 245 around the corner, the most successful Featherweight Champion of the UFC, Jose Aldo is set to test the waters on his Bantamweight debut against the extremely dangerous striker Marlon Moraes.
It remains to be seen whether this move will prove fruitful for Aldo or not, but in this feature, we have ranked the Top 5 fighters across time who have dropped a weight class and excelled in a lighter weight division.
#5 Lyoto Machida
A pioneer of the sport, a future UFC Hall-of-Famer and the former UFC light heavyweight, Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida started his MMA career at the light heavyweight division, initially in the smaller promotions before making his UFC debut at UFC 67 in the year 2007.
Machida quickly rose to prominence in the UFC's Light-Heavyweight division by defeating top contenders and legends of the sport like Sokodjou, Tito Ortiz and Thiago Silva. Being an undefeated contender at 14-0, Machida secured a title shot against Rashad Evans at UFC 98. He then went on to become the UFC's Light-Heavyweight champion with his win over Rashad Evans and later defended his belt against fellow Brazillian Mauricio "Shogun" Rua at UFC 104 before finally losing the title to Shogun at UFC 113. Machida continued his Light Heavyweight campaign for 3 years and also fought the champion Jon Jones in the meanwhile.
Finally, Machida dropped down to Middleweight in October 2013 and fought Mark Munoz and defeated him via 1st round KO. Machida went on to fight Gegard Mousasi and the challenged the Middleweight champion Chris Weidman, falling short in a closely fought 5-round contest. Lyoto Machida has been a staple contender in the Middleweight division of the UFC and has fought the very best of the division and delivered some remarkable performances along the way.
Machida currently competes at Bellator where he recently fought the Middleweight Champion, Gegard Mousasi and lost via split decision. Lyoto Machida has been a top contender at Middleweight after being a UFC champion at Light Heavyweight and continues to compete at the highest level and might add a Bellator Middleweight title to his legacy before retiring from the sport.